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Respect: Give It and Pursue It

Respect: Give It and Pursue It

Respect is incredibly important to men, not just in the NFL but in all walks of life. We crave it from our peers, our friends, our family, and especially our girlfriends or wives. Plenty of authors have pointed out that most men would rather feel unloved than disrespected. There is a reason why the Bible tells husbands to “love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25) while teaching that “the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

For a man, respect is top priority.

As in the NFL, respect in everyday life isn’t something you attract by talking about your accomplishments and intentions. It’s earned by your actions.

To me, sacrifice and respect often go hand in hand. You have to give up something to get respect. It might be letting go of the dream of buying the new car you’ve been eyeing so you can give that money to a needy neighbor. It might mean saying no to a promotion at work because it would take too much time away from your wife and family. It’s making the tough, unselfish choices that benefit others.

If you’re a dad and want to raise your kids right, sacrifice is definitely part of the deal. You might have to give up a few things and start spending your time and money on more family oriented priorities. To set an example for Taylor when he was younger, I listened only to gospel music. He didn’t understand my position back then. He just rolled his eyes at me. But today, Taylor understands why I did it. I believe he respects me for it. In the long run, that sacrifice has been well worth it.

One thing I’m proud of is that when people compliment me nowadays, most often they talk about how I conducted myself off the field instead of how I played on it. They appreciate how I handled myself.

My intention was never to earn people’s praise, but it’s rewarding to hear those comments. It’s another by-product of respect.

To truly understand respect, we need to give it as well as pursue it.

For me, that means acknowledging the one who deserves my respect above all others: God.

The Bible says that

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. — Proverbs 1:7

Fear of the Lord is awe, reverence, love, and honor for Him all wrapped together.

Some fear is healthy — we should be a little afraid of the dad who has authority over our earthly lives and the God who has authority over all of creation. Both have power that far exceeds our own. It’s pretty simple, actually. The reason people sometimes admire me is because of my respect for God. It’s only because I worship and obey Him that anyone might find me worthy of respect.

Excerpted with permission from The Making of a Man by Tim Brown, copyright Thomas Nelson.

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Your Turn

How high does respect land on your priority list? What level of respect do you offer God in your life and decisions? Come join the conversation on our blog! We want to hear from you!